The 2023 bride is “looking for jewelry pieces that will not only bring joy on [her] wedding day, but also become heirlooms,” says Rebecca Foerster, president of diamond brand Hearts On Fire’s North America division. “There are certain design elements that we know the modern bride is searching for, including feminine, dainty diamonds, drop earrings, and ethereal, nature-inspired designs.”
Among the other in-demand bridal styles that US jewelers cite are fancy shapes, multi-stone looks, big bands, and splashes of color.
Making the cut
Harris Botnick, president of Worthmore Jewelers in Atlanta, Georgia, heads to the JCK Las Vegas show every year to spot new trends his store is not already selling. His hot-ticket bridal pieces feature fancy-shaped diamonds, with requests pouring in for uncommon cuts. Favorites include marquises, cadillacs, trapezoids, kites, bullets, shields and half-moons, along with unusually shaped salt-and-pepper diamonds. Side stones are getting lots of love, and “our toi et moi rings with different-shaped stones are continuing to grow in popularity,” he adds.
A recent uptick in elongated shapes — ovals, radiants, cushions and marquises — hasn’t escaped the notice of Troy Underwood, vice president of Underwoods Fine Jewelers in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Jeweler Omi Privé, meanwhile, continues to mix diamond cuts like cadillacs and trillions with colored gemstones for head-turning designs.
Moval and emerald cuts are the most popular shapes at Rahaminov Diamonds. “We are introducing more of our movals set in various ways — from solitaires to halos to clusters, and everything in between,” says Melanie Goldfiner Goldberg, the Los Angeles-based brand’s director of marketing and business development. Elongated shapes set north-south are flattering on the hand, though cluster-style rings with larger diamonds remain Rahaminov’s best sellers. Two-tone engagement rings and mixed-cut diamond designs rank high on clients’ wish lists as well.
Kunal Shah is quick to note a shift in trends. “Oval-shaped diamonds that reigned supreme during the pandemic are ever so slightly being eclipsed by emerald cuts,” says the president of New York-based diamond supplier Pristine Gems, adding that marquises are also hot sellers this year.
And it’s not just the stones that are sporting cuts. Hearts On Fire’s new collection of bridal jewels makes generous use of French-cut pavé, in which deep, delicate V-shaped notches in the metal next to the diamonds lend greater sparkle to the brand’s signature cut.
From left: Rahaminov engagement ring with a pear-shaped central diamond; a diamond ring sold at Ben Bridge Jeweler in 18-karat yellow gold; Kirk Kara diamond engagement ring in rose gold.
Hidden halos and subtle hints
For today’s bride, it’s no longer about single or double halos; many are seeking beautiful center stones with a delicate pavé of diamonds in a hidden halo underneath. Single rows of diamonds along the gallery or the shoulder take the ring to a new level. “Solitaires and engagement rings with hidden halos are very in demand,” affirms Goldberg.
Bridal brand Kirk Kara’s new handcrafted collections for the JCK show also feature hidden halos. Modern and vintage designs with the signature Kirk Kara filigree and hand-engraved details make for additional appeal.
“Brides and grooms are on a quest for…a design that resonates with them and their own personality as a couple,” says Angela Karaguezian, the company’s CEO. Colored-gemstone accents, matched wedding sets, couples’ rings, and nature-inspired rings continue to hold sway over her customers. Clusters of baguettes accenting the sides, or fancy shapes — pears, ovals, trapezoids, epaulettes — flanking the center stones are great ways to amplify the sparkle.
Jewelry makers are also coming up with refined versions of the classic three-stone ring. Leaning on minimalist designs to accentuate the central diamond, they are using subtle halos and an assortment of diamond cuts. To make bridal jewels extra fancy, marquises and baguettes are in the spotlight this season as supporting elements for the main stone. And extra bling matters; wedding bands with mixed-cut diamonds or gem embellishments offer more bang for one’s buck.
From left: Norman Silverman platinum ring with an emerald-cut, 8.43-carat diamond and two tapered baguette diamonds; Omi Privé platinum ring with an oval cobalt spinel, Paraiba tourmalines, diamonds and hauyne; a stack of diamond eternity bands by Joshua J.
Fancy some pink?
As consumers become more educated, they are seeking out not just colorless diamonds, but ones that come in a range of natural hues. At Rahaminov, pink and green diamonds are selling well, says Goldberg, noting that pinks’ exclusivity has made them a hot commodity among collectors, investors, and individuals who want to own something truly special.
Bridal at New York-based jeweler Le Vian has also been more and more about color, with couples veering toward natural colored gems and fancy-colored diamonds. Fancy-pink diamonds are wildly popular, affirms CEO Eddie LeVian. With the closure of the Argyle mine in Australia — the primary source for this hue — these covetable stones have become increasingly rare on the market.
“Pink diamonds have become the stuff of dreams for ultra-high-net-worth, trend-setting women everywhere,” says LeVian. Contemporary embellishments and trapezoid or half-moon side stones instantly elevate the brand’s new bridal rings. Pink and fancy yellow are the go-to choices for
colored diamonds at Underwoods. As such, the store’s hand-forged custom line incorporates natural opaque diamonds in yellow, golden, reddish-brown, champagne, yellowish-green and grey hues,
as well as salt-and-pepper.
With a resurgence in ’90s culture in fashion, we are seeing elements sprinkled throughout our designs soaring in popularity.
The full spectrum
Couples “are looking for a piece as unique and special as their relationship,” says Rebecca Shukan — director of sales and development at Omi Privé — and this creates opportunities for colored stones in the bridal market. New designs in sapphire — for the more conventional colored-gem bridal clients — and some exciting Paraiba tourmaline and spinel rings are making their way to Las Vegas this year.
Bold hues and color combinations are Omi Privé’s forte, and the brand continues to see a strong passion for sapphires ranging from traditional blues to fancy pinks, with diamond accents. Not one to shy away from imbuing the metal with color as well, the company is stocking up on designs in black rhodium.
Montana sapphire, a diamond alternative with a lovely spectrum of shades, is an ideal gem for infusing an engagement ring with a one-of-a-kind character. As bridal customers increasingly seek out US-mined gemstones, Montana sapphire has emerged as an especially coveted choice, reports Stephanie Major, marketing director at Idaho-based jeweler Parlé.
Saying ‘yes’ to classics
This past year, Underwoods has had great success with the classics, especially solitaires and three-stone rings. “White metal is still the most popular for us, but there has been an increased demand for yellow gold,” says Underwood. “We’ll be on the lookout for variations of these classics that incorporate rounds and elongated fancy-shape center stones — and of course, more hidden halo looks.”
Adam Graham of Joshua J. Fine Jewelry confirms clients’ affinity for yellow gold, as well as more traditional designs and fancy shapes. “With engagement rings, we are seeing a return to simpler, classic styles, fewer halos,” says Graham, the company’s director of sales for the western US. “Our newer collections tend to focus on bridal accessories, specifically including emerald-cut and oval diamonds in earrings, bracelets and necklaces.”
Two-stone rings are still going strong and are a great way to incorporate varied shapes for the customer who can’t settle on just one, says Trudy Tracy, in-house diamond stylist at Los Angeles-based jeweler Norman Silverman. In the same vein, “three-stone rings are a classic and making a comeback. This is a lovely choice for any budget.” East-west solitaires are more expensive, she explains, as they require a larger stone.
Broad band connections
Move over, slim silhouettes: Bigger diamonds within bigger settings are proving more practical. Norman Silverman is finding more takers for large center stones on simple eternity bands. “It creates an elevated look,” says Tracy. A wide gold band with a solitaire is another way to keep a ring current. East-west center stones in prong or bezel settings are becoming more prevalent, mostly in yellow gold, she reports.
The designs of prior decades are coming back as well. “We saw baguettes and marquise cuts trend throughout the ’80s and early ’90s, as well as yellow gold,” says Molly Peterson, bridal buyer for retailer Ben Bridge. “With a resurgence in ’90s culture in fashion, we are seeing elements sprinkled throughout our designs soaring in popularity.”
Large, wide diamond bands can easily take the place of a traditional engagement ring — a realization that has prompted Ben Bridge to launch a series of distinctive bands by its favorite luxury designer, Rahaminov. “The pieces feature everything from mixed shapes and interesting textures…to a wide band containing several large fancy-shape ovals or emeralds with halos,” Peterson relates.
Customization seems to be the preferred route for many brides. “I believe we will see more detailed elements such as milgrain and filigree come back into play, as the modern-day bridal customer wants to differentiate themselves from others,” says Peterson.
This article is from the May-June 2023 issue of Rapaport Magazine. View other articles here.
Main image: Le Vian ring with a pear-shaped, pink central diamond. (Le Vian)